Summary: David's treatment of Saul's son, Mephibosheth, is an example of why we should be thankful for God's grace.
Grateful for Grace
Sally tells this true story: I heard the door open and slam shut at the back of the church. An exasperated
young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. "Sorry I'm late!" he offered with no explanation.
I wondered: Who is this stranger anyway?
My mother had been buried the week before in our family plot in another state. Now, we were having a
memorial service for friends here where she had been living with me the last two years. In a few minutes,
the young man leaned over and whispered: "Why do they keep calling her 'Margaret'?"
"Because that's her name!"
"No," he insisted. "Her name is Mary Peters."
"I'm sorry, but this is a service for Margaret Browning!"
"Isn't this the Lutheran church?"
"No, the Lutheran church is across the street."
"I believe you're at the wrong funeral, sir!" I couldn't help myself: This whole crazy scenario bubbled up
inside me and came out as laughter. As I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as
sobs, I peeked at the bewildered man beside me.
He was laughing, too!
At the final "Amen," we darted out a side door and across the street, but the hearse had already pulled out.
He said his name was Rick; and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, he owed me a cup of coffee and an
That afternoon began a lifelong friendship with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the
right place. This past June we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary! Whenever anyone asks
us how we met, Rick tells them, "Her dead mother and my dead Aunt Mary introduced us! Ours was a
marriage made in Heaven."
Husbands and wives ought to be best friends, but the Bible does not discourage same-sex friendship. Even
today, middle-eastern people are not hesitant to showtheir love to others of the same sex by hugging and
kissing on the cheek when they meet. Many American men feel it's unmacho to hug other men. Yet, the
Bible promotes a wholesome bond between friends. Several verses in Proverbs say, "A friend loves at all
times....(As) perfume rejoice the heart, so does the sweetness of a man's friend....As iron sharpens iron, so a
man sharpens the character of his friend."
It's only when same-sex relationships become carnal and break God's laws for purity that the Bible calls
those relations immoral. God's plan is for heterosexual homes to propagate the race and exemplify the
standards of his Word. However, the Bible gives us some beautiful accounts of women loving women. One of
our favorite wedding passages was spoken between two women when Ruth said to Naomi, "Entreat me not
to leave thee nor to return from following after thee; for whether thou goest I will go." First and Second
Samuel also record a beautiful friendship between two men, David and Jonathan. Let me use their example
at this Thanksgiving season to remind us to be "Grateful for Grace," which is the title of this sermon. Look
at my text in 2 Samuel 9:1-8.
To learn why David was anxious to help Jonathan's son, we need to review what 1 Samuel tells us about
David's friendship with Jonathan. When David was a young man, maybe 14-16 years old, he was
summonsed frequently to come and play his harp to help King Saul relax. While still a young man, David
made a name for himself as a warrior by killing the giant, Goliath. After that, Saul invited David to be his
personal armor-bearer, eventually making David a captain in the army and later giving him one of the
King's daughters to marry.
During this time, David met Jonathan, King Saul's son. They were close to the same age and were both
soldiers in Saul's army. They became such close friends that 1 Samuel 18 says their souls were knit together
and they loved each other as their own souls. These verses record a covenant they made. Although we're
not told the details, supposedly they promised to always befriend each other. Jonathan was wise with
enough spiritual insight to see that David was more popular with the people than Saul and his children were.
Perhaps David told Jonathan of his anointing earlier when the prophet Samuel had told him he would be
king one day. But, Jonathan was in line for the throne! This should have made Jonathan envious of David,
but envy has no place where true friends love and protect each other. Their bond was such that, whoever
became king, they would share that honor with the other.
I. The Promise Made, 1 Samuel 20:14-17
We see the promise made in I Samuel 20:14-17. Here, David and Jonathan renewed their covenant and